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Nursing home fines drop significantly

Fines against nursing homes that were found to injure or endanger their residents were significantly reduced after the Trump administration changed its policy on the issue. Average fines dropped from $41,260 in 2016 under the Obama administration to $28,405 under Trump. The reason why fines decreased so much is due to a policy that changed the way nursing homes in North Carolina and other states were fined. It changed from the number of days they were out of compliance to a single fine for each reported violation.

This shift in policy was welcomed by the nursing home industry, but many health officials say that it could make life more dangerous for seniors. Since taking office, the Trump administration has heeded a wide range of suggestions made by nursing home lobbyists who believed that enforcement of regulations was overzealous. This included an 18-month moratorium on penalties related to several new health and safety regulations implemented by the Obama administration.

As the Trump administration attempts to decrease penalties for nursing homes, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has increased their rate of fines. This came about due to an Obama-era policy that required CMS to fine a facility every time a resident was harmed rather than leaving it to the discretion of the regulator.

Families who believe their loved one is suffering from nursing home neglect may wish to seek support and guidance from an attorney. An attorney may be able to provide a free initial consultation to evaluate the circumstances of neglect and help determine if there are any legal remedies available. In some cases, a nursing home may be willing to provide restitution voluntarily, but filing a lawsuit and going to court may be necessary in other cases.

Source: Concord Monitor, "Nursing Home Fines Drop As Trump Administration Heeds Industry Complaints", Jordan Rau, 04/22/2019

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